Lords of Dogtown is a 2005 film based on the true story of the Zephyr Skate Team or "The Z-Boys", a young group of surfers-turned-skateboarders from 1970s Venice Beach, California that revolutionized the sport of skateboarding.
The movie focuses on three young skateboarders, Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, and Jay Adams. The film turns the story into a combination of Coming of Age and Rags to Riches story, as the team is torn apart by the temptations of fame and money, with all three skateboarders taking different routes.
This film provides examples of:
- The Ace: The three main characters (Tony, Stacy, and Jay) are all portrayed as some of the best skateboarders around.
- Age Lift: The film portrays Tony, Stacy and Jay as relatively the same age, when in reality, Tony and Stacy are four years older than Jay.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Kathy leaves Stacy, who's a little more earnest and straight-laced for the rebellious Jay.
- Bittersweet Ending: After learning that Sid is dying with brain cancer, Tony, Stacy, and Jay reunite, make peace and skate in Sid's empty swimming pool.
- Butt-Monkey: Sid. His inner-ear equilibrium problem is commonly messed with by the other characters. His problem was actually caused by a fatal brain tumor.
- The Cameo: The real Z-Boys and Tony Hawk make appearances.
- Chekhov's News: The news report about drought in California, leading to water restrictions and empty pools, where the Z-Boys developed their signature skating style.
- Chick Magnet: Tony and Jay, mostly.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Stacy with The Z-Boys originally. Skip rejected him from the team at first, due to not being a "pirate" (read: had responsibilities, job, etc.) and didn't bring him on the team until Stacy won in a competition against them. Ironically, Stacy is the last to leave The Z-Boys after the others are signed to sponsorships.
- Delinquents: The teenage main characters, to greater or lesser extents, who cut school to surf and skate in questionably legal places.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Jay and his mother. He only competes so she could one day stop working at her factory job.
- Hippie Mom: Jay's mom.
- Important Haircut: Jay shaving his head signifies his immersion in the punk subculture and him distancing himself from the Z-Boys.
- It's All About Me: Tony gets this attitude when he starts his own skateboard company.
- Logo Joke: The TriStar logo gets "Locals Only" spray-painted across it, seen here.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits: Subverted by Tony Alva, with his sister Kathy. She starts as Stacy's girlfriend, but ends up with Jay. Tony is totally fine with this, and there's even a scene where Tony and Kathy are both making out with their dates in bed right next to each other.
- Surfer Dude: All the main characters get their start as sufers, and they have the long hair and chill vibes to show for it.
- The Svengali: Skip Engblom is this mixed with Trickster Mentor. He gives them basically nothing for being on the team and is a huge Jerkass to the Z-Boys, all while using them to promote his surf shop. Once they start to get big, they realize how poorly treated they are compared to what they could have on other teams, and all leave.
- Troubled, but Cute: Jay Adams, who was raised by a single mom and is the angriest and most countercultural of the Z-Boys. He gets a lot of girls, and steals the straight-laced Stacy's girlfriend.
- We Used to Be Friends: After the Zephyr Skate Team broke up, the friendship between Stacy, Jay and Tony become very frosty.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The film ends with blurbs about what happened to each character after the events of the movie.